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Here’s what I consider to be a good low-cost (under $25 per 1m pair) DIY IC cable build for newbies to tackle and/or simply as a low budget DIY option for a second system, friends and family, or as a fine step-up from generic in-the-box stereo patch cables. The build is nothing too special, but from a price-to-performance ratio aspect there’s nothing too unattractive about it, either. Tip: Ditch the Canare F-10 connectors ferromagnetic steel strain relief springs.
Mogami W2549 Bulk Interconnect Cable:
Canare F-10 RCA Connector:
Mogami 2549 cable along with Switchcraft 3502A connectors, came out to approx. $2 a foot.
Bought everything from REDCO.
Exactly the same cable I've been making as my basic go-to DIY cable for ... let's see here, I'll dig through some invoices ... 2004.
I have a dedicated computer multimedia audiophile system (where I also peruse AA posting activities from) located in an alcove at the right rear corner of my main system listening room. When I decided to run an extra-long 35 foot length of line-level audio interconnects from the multimedia system to the main audio system, I opted to go low-budget and use very low-cost (50 cents per stereo foot!) Mogami W2528 dual channel coaxial audio interconnect cable terminated with the previously mentioned Canare F-10 rca connectors, and find the build to be unobjectionable if not satisfactory from a relatively non-critical application POV. The very low capacitance of the particular coaxial cable, its polyethylene dielectric, and its served shielding (don't step on the cable!) are of benefit towards such a very long-length of interconnect cabling. Not a particularly high performance option, but none too shabby, either :-D
I have high-quality industrial/shielded wire that contains more than two strands (see image). I, of course, only need two. So do I just use two, or should I pair or triple up (tie together) the extra strands?
I would suggest that you start with one wire for the signal and two for the ground. I read somewhere that doubling the ground (at a minimum) enhances the performance of the cable. There are any number of theories as to how thick (gauge) for the signal and ground should be.
With the cable you have you can test out various combinations to see if you hear difference. Experimentation is some of the joy of DIY.
Kindly, report back your findings.
That looks to me like a very good low-dollar solution. The come in various colors too! It could also be just the ticket for a subwoofer cable, even if you are using better cable elsewhere. I have got some old RadioShack gold-ends type cables (the ones that the objectivist love) on my subwoofer now and was looking at an affordable step-up in quality. Thanks! I might build a few, because it is always helpful to have some extra cables around.
Please report your findings within this forum. A comparison of the particular low-cost DIY build with the Radio Shack product may be quite useful to some folks.
I had bought some Cardas chassis wire that I also suspected would make good interconnect stock (a while ago). I made up two pair of interconnects with it. The sound was nothing special.
Recently began noticing the weave pattern of various Kimber style interconnects, so I re-weaved it. Sound is much, much better. I am going to compare it soon against some much more expensive interconnect, and see how it really compares.
Basically, I gave it a tight (like braiding a rope) weave rather than the loose weave I had for years. If you take anything from this post, it is good to experiment a bit!
Howdo you wire it up?
Blue is signal - tip on plug
Screen is return - outer on plug
I'd wire it to the outer at the signal end only, making the cable "directional"
As rwiley, pointed out, the shield is to be soldered to the rca plugs body (ground) at the source end only, while the two wires are to be connected at both ends of the connector, one to the rca plugs center pins, and the other to the rca plugs bodies (ground).
so blue (or white) is pos/signal and the other (blue or white) is return/neg. The shield is connected to the neg. at the source end only.
the Switchcraft 3502...which has been recommended many times here. Personally I think that unless you're able to spend a lot more, this connector is the way to go for most DIY i/c projects. Especially if you're just experimenting/prototyping. They're well made, sound good and easy to terminate.
There are several options and they are all nice connectors. The basic version(3502 short body) is a favorite but the gold plated long body are nice as well.
Thanks for this pointer.
Do you have more recipes for good DIY Interconnects as you go slowly up the price range and assembly difficulty?
I love DIY stuff, since it usually gives you a great bang for the buck. Besides the pride knowing that you build it yourself.
These sound pretty sweet at about $60/ stereo meter. Van Damme Lo Cap cable (silver plated Cu) with nylon RCA's. Connectors have silver plated Cu contact area and pin. Quality injection molded glass-filled Nylon is strong. They engage really well. You may be put off by the lack of a strain relief for thinner cable projects. The Van Damme is 9mm OD. You can find the connectors here -
Rather than going too slowly up the price range, I would recommend doubled (plus a bit more if need be) cost increments for more notable DIY betterment. At the cost of a bit over $50 per 1m pair, I would suggest Neotech NEI-3004 UPOCC (single crystal copper) bulk interconnect cable terminated with Vampire LRCA8 rca connectors. Best price found DIY parts available from Take Five Audio:
Neotech NEI-3004 UPOCC (Single Crystal Copper) Bulk Interconnect Cable:
Vampire LRCA8 RCA Connectors:
Do they just leave the room unheated over there in Canada??
Actually TakeFiveAudio.com now offers their own Pre-Terminated RCA Interconnect Cables at a great value using the same components you have recommended (Neotech NEI-3004 and Vampire LRCA8 RCA). They also have a balanced one using Neotech NEI-3001 terminated with Neotech's own UPOCC RCA connectors.
I mention this because I have ordered one of their digital interconnects for SPDIF using Neotech ND021090 terminated with Vampire 9X/CB Copper Alloy RCA connectors, which you also recommended in a previous post. They also have a digital interconnect using Neotech NEVD-2001 Xhadow Silver plated Copper Alloy RCA connectors. I was going to DIY but these were such a good value I couldn't resist.
Great suggestions so far.
What would be the next step up in DIY IC cable?
The next level DIY suggestion at a bit over $100 per 1m pair: VH Audio Pulsar Cu bulk interconnect cable (featuring a solid core fine gauge pure copper signal conductor with a FEP Teflon dielectric) terminated with Furutech FP-126(G) rca connectors (featuring a gold plated PCOCC copper center pin). IME, the particular build presents a very musical sonic signature while providing great speed and a very low noise floor.
VH Audio Pulsar Cu Bulk Interconnect Cable:
Furutech FP-126(G) RCA Connectors:
Since I have been following you posts, I would assume that the next step up would be to keep the Furutech FP-126(G) RCA Connectors and upgrade the cables to VH Audio Spectrum Cu. Is that correct?
Yes, that's an excellent next step, Dave. VH Audio Spectrum Cu bulk interconnect cable terminated with Furutech FP-126(G) rca connectors would indeed be my next suggestion. I find the Spectrum Cu to have a "same family" sonic signature as the Pulsar Cu, but just downright higher performance in all ways audiophilia ;-) Cover the cable with 1/4" Techflex Clean Cut sleeving, and use a bit of heat shrink at the rca connecter entry point area for proper strain relief, as the Spectrum Cu cable cable while quite durable is so flexible ("bendy") due to the mechanical vibration dampening elastomer jacket that it would be a smart thing to add some basic strain relief.
You really have laid out a great DIY path from basic to SOTA. You should do the same with speaker cables. Of course speaker cables get more complex with the widely divergent amp and speaker interactions.
Some great ideas from you and on the VH audio site.
How about an idea of a 'top of the line' DIY IC WITHOUT going overboard?
Maybe some silver cables?
Thanks Duster for another great pointer to some good DIY ICs.
I have heard differences in cables, so I am a believer that cables have an influence on sound.
However, I never had the chance to try different RCA connectors. Are they as different in sound than cables can be?
Also, I got some RCA connectors that look just like Cardas ICs, but I was told by the seller, that they are not Cardas. Wonder how they fair in quality.
Connectors vary in performance level and sonic signature as much as cables do. It can either be a daunting task or just plain fun (or both) to find out what the differences are.
As to the Cardas look-alike, you may be mentioning a product that I've seen on eBay. I don't know how they sound (nor what the build quality is).
Yes the guy who sold me those Cardas look alike mentioned that he got them of ebay. Interestingly they look exactly the same as the real Cardas ICs I have on my phono wire. May be the same basic material, but with a different plating.
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